This Pinot Noir is grown in the Putnam Vineyard in Annapolis. The 32 acres of Goldridge and sandy clay loam soils were planted in 2005, and yields are a minuscule two tons per acre. Farming is certified fish-friendly and sustainable. This fruit was hand-picked, de-stemmed, and cold soaked for five days before fermentation in French oak barrels, one-quarter new. The wine aged 17 months and was bottled filtered but not fined.
Where Tongue Dancer’s 2014 Putnam bottling was sweet-seeming and fey, this vintage is serious and grounded. A dark spine runs down the middle, and both its aromatics and flavor tilt more toward sun-dried tomato than Pinot Noir’s more customary strawberry and cherry. I also get—surprisingly, because I think of this as a Cabernet or Merlot note—a tinge of juniper.
The wine is expansive, long, and somewhat tannic, making it an unusual Sonoma Pinot and a very unusual California Pinot. This also helps it match with food. Pair it with Pinot’s usual companions—pork, poultry, rare beef—but also with tagines and curries, braises, or savory vegetarian cuisine with mushrooms and aged cheese.
2015 Tongue Dancer Pinot Noir Putnam Vineyard Sonoma Coast
14.5% abv | $65 (sample)